How to Create a Custom and Lookalike Audience on Facebook


What are Custom and Lookalike Audiences?

Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences are created by the data acquired from your website traffic or engagement with your Facebook and/or Instagram accounts.

Custom audiences will allow you to create audiences from: 

  • Company databases 
  • Email lists 
  • People who have visited certain pages of your website
  • People who have watched particular videos on Facebook or Instagram
  • People who have responded to your Facebook events
  • People who have interacted with your mobile app

Once you've created these audiences you can target these groups with your ads. For example, if you have a newsletter that goes out to an email list every week, you can upload that list to Custom Audiences and then direct your ads to that particular group. 

Lookalike Audiences work hand-in-hand with your Custom Audiences. Once you've created a Custom Audience, Facebook will then find people who look like that Custom Audience and create a new group of Facebook users that have similar interests and demographics. This new audience is called a Lookalike Audience.

How to Create a Custom Audience

In the Ads Manager, you can access Custom Audiences in the Assets tab from the drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner.

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From here, you'll need to create a new Custom Audience.

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A pop-up window will open and you'll choose which type of audience you want to create depending on your objective. 

For example, if we choose the Customer File option, you can upload your own CSV file, manually enter your data, or import a list from MailChimp. Facebook will now cross-reference your list of customers or subscribers with its own database. Rename your audience list so you can easily access this for later use. 

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How to Create a Lookalike Audience

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To create a Lookalike Audience to use on Facebook or Instagram, start by selecting your desired Custom Audience and location. You can only target one Lookalike Audience in one country at a time. For example, if you are advertising in the United States and want to create a Lookalike Audience from your email list, you will want to select the United States as your country and Email List Custom Audience. Facebook will then generate a new audience from your Custom Audience.


Once you've created your Lookalike Audiences, you'll then be able to create your ads in Ads Manager using these Lookalike Audiences. But, you'll also need to add other demographic information such as location, interests, age, language, etc., to narrow your audience even further to ensure that you're creating the perfect audience for your ad. 

Would you like to learn more about creating Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences for your businesses? Contact us to schedule a social media marketing training session.